Gates: In Five Years The Best Education Will Come From The Web
Gates thinks something is going to die too.
No, it's not physical books like Nicholas
Negroponte - instead, Gates thinks the idea of young adults
having to go to universities in order to get an education is
going to go away relatively soon. Well, provided they're self-motivated
"Five years from now on the web for free you'll be able
to find the best lectures in the world," Gates said at
the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA today. "It will
be better than any single university," he continued.
He believes that no matter how you came about your knowledge,
you should get credit for it. Whether it's an MIT degree or
if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there
needs to be a way to highlight that.
He made sure to say that educational institutions are still
vital for children, K-12. He spoke glowingly about charter schools,
where kids can spend up to 80% of their time deeply engaged
But college needs to be less "place-based," according
to Gates. Well, except for the parties, he joked.
But his overall point is that it's just too expensive and too
hard to get these upper-level educations. And soon place-based
college educations will be five times less important than they
One particular problem with the education system according to
Gates is text books. Even in grade schools, they can be 300
pages for a book about math. "They're giant, intimidating
books," he said. "I look at them and think: what on
Earth is in there?"
According to Gates, our text books are three times longer than
the equivalents in Asia. And yet they're beating us in many
ways with education. The problem is that these things are built
by committee, and more things are simply added on top of what's
already in there.
Gates said that technology is the only way to bring education
back under control and expand it.